The independent resource on global security

Case study: Cameroon

Organization: Centre Interdisciplinaire pour le développement et les droits humains [The Interdisciplinary Centre for Development and Human Rights] (CIPAD)

Title: Conjoncture sécuritaire en zone frontalière Cameroun-Tchad-République Centrafricaine; Eléments d'analyse anthropo-politiste du phénomène des coupeurs de route [The security situation in the border area of Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Chad: the phenomenon of highway robbery]

This research looks at the illicit trade and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Congo Basin’s ‘Triangle of Death’—the border areas linking Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad. The region is known for its armed gangs and banditry and is often described as outside of state control or as ‘ungoverned territories’. A key outcome of the large scale illicit trade in and proliferation of SALW in the region is that gun violence, the amputation of legs and arms, the looting of livestock and farmlands, rape and kidnapping are recurrent experiences for residents. The cross-border dimension of the SALW trade makes it a threat to regional security in Central Africa. 

National governments, especially Cameroon’s, have adopted unilateral approaches and policies to counteract SALW trafficking and related problems in the region, but they have so far proven ineffective. A tripartite approach to the problem was launched in July 2005 on the prompting of the United Nations Office in CAR (BONUCA), however, five years on, not much has changed. In fact, the security situation in the border areas has deteriorated further. This study examines the manifestations and dynamics of highway robbery in this area and seeks to analyse its causes in order to promote an urgent implementation of solutions, limit its expansion and promote the return of peace to this area.